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- DescriptionHistoire de la grandeur et de la decadence de Cesar Birotteau or Cesar Birotteau, is a 1837 vel by Hore de Balzac as part of his series La Comedie humaine. Its main character is a Parisian perfumier who achieves success in the cosmetics business, but becomes bankrupt due to property speculation. The vel is a partly satirical, partly sympathetic portrayal of the Parisian middle class. Balzac writes .. may the present history be the poem of those vicissitudes of bourgeois life that voice has thought to sing, so much are they denuded of grandeur, though by the same token immense: what we speak of here is t a single man, but a whole nation of suffering.  The world of high finance is also explored through Cesar's visits to the bankers du Tillet, the Kellers, Nucingen and Gigonnet during the second half of the book. Chapter 14 is titled A General History of Bankruptcy, and here Balzac explains the bankruptcy laws as they existed in his time, and how they were frequently abused by dishonest businessmen who wanted to escape their debts. Cesar is shown to be an exception in that he chooses to hour all of his debts.
- Author BiographyHonore de Balzac; 20 May 1799 - 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comedie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multifaceted characters, who are morally ambiguous. His writing influenced many subsequent novelists such as Marcel Proust, Emile Zola, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Eca de Queiros, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Benito Perez Galdos, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino, and philosophers such as Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Many of Balzac's works have been made into or have inspired films, and they are a continuing source of inspiration for writers, filmmakers and critics. An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was an apprentice in a law office, but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comedie humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience. Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal difficulties, and he ended several friendships over critical reviews. In 1850 he married Ewelina Hanska, his longtime love; he died five months later.
- Author(s)Honore De Balzac
- PublisherCreatespace Independent Publishing Platform
- Date of Publication04/12/2013
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectGeneral & Literary Fiction
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintCreatespace Independent Publishing Platform
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight503 g
- Width216 mm
- Height279 mm
- Spine11 mm
- Translated byKatherine Prescott Wormeley
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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